IEC members asked to show neutrality
KABUL (PAN): Political parties on Tuesday welcomed the appointment of new Independent Election Commission (IEC) members by President Karzai, but alleged those who proposed them had connections with the government.
The parties warned the government against any interference in the election process, saying such attempts would undermine the vote’s credibility.
Karzai chose nine individuals on Monday from a list of 28 nominees he was sent on Sunday in line with a new poll law.
The newly- appointed IEC members are Abdur Rahman Hotaki, Gulalai Achakzai, Sharifa Zurmati, Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani, Sareer Ahmad Barmak, Laila Ihrari, Qazi Suleman Hamid, Mohammad Aziz Bakhtiari and Mohammad Hussain Garziwani.
In mid-July, a joint commission of both houses of parliament approved a new election law, envisaging the creation of a committee to introduce Electoral Complaints Commission and IEC members to the president.
Due to differences, civil society groups have not yet named their representatives for the committee, which jerked into action last week. Some political parties, calling the IEC a government-controlled body, claimed the authorities had influenced the preparation of the list.
Syed Aqa Hussain Fazil Sancharaki, a spokesman for the National Collation of Afghanistan (NCA), said despite many problems in the appointment procedure, they hoped the newly-appointed IEC members would be able to prevent irregularities in the elections.
Sancharaki said the April 5 elections were crucial to determining the country’s fate, urging the new IEC commissioners to be careful in discharging their responsibilities. In the same breath, he said the appointments were unfair because most of members of the committee that proposed the names had connections with the government.
A senior member of the Right and Justice party, Moeen Mrastial, said political parties wanted university teachers and scholars to be appointed as IEC members. The National Unity party also expressed its opposition to the appointment of the nine IEC members.
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